Getting Started in Ottawa

The Costains arrived in Ottawa at the end of September 1951 and found a temporary home in an apartment in Eastview (now Vanier), a working class neighbourhood with a mix of Francophones and Anglophones.  And, to the excitement of Cynthia and Carol, almost immediately Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to Ottawa at the start of their Royal Visit and were photographed waving (as they had on their wedding day) to Cyn in the crowd.

And the baby was fine.  Arrayed in the lace trimmed nighties and the double breasted cardigan her loving relatives had made her, Linda continued to flourish. ( And I remember that chair, red and white.)

Other babies were arriving, both in Ottawa and Ann Arbor…

Christopher Bovey arrived 5 days after I did, and Mary Jo & Pete and Lee & Bob Mills had boys too.

Cec and Cyn also met the people who worked in the NRC with Dr. Herzberg in the Pure Physics Division, people who were to become close friends: Luise Herzberg, Alec Douglas, Jack Shoosmith are the first 3 in the top photo, Cyn on the sofa in the second, and Dr  Herzberg in the third.

As with the Sutherlands in Ann Arbor, efforts were made to be friendly and helpful to newcomers. With the system of post-doctorate fellows coming to the NRC for two year stints, young couples were always coming and going, and the Costains were made to feel welcome.  Later, Cyn and Cec, as permanent residents, would entertain new arrivals and help integrate them into their Ottawa life. (I started my baby-sitting career with a post-doc couple’s baby!)

The baby kept growing.

Money had been tight for the beginning months, but the December accounts show a luxury they had not had in Michigan- a telephone. 

At Christmas, the gifts sent to England were mostly candy, as described in Cyn’s present list, but the loot that arrived for Linda was amazing. Among the cards which arrived were pictures showing the growth of their friend’s children: they did call us the Baby Boomer Generation.

In January, photos show Linda alert and happy, and she had a new cousin: Terry, another Costain boy, born to Cec’s brother Russel and wife Errol in Saskatoon.

Although I don’t think Cec ordered them, the Tailors and Robemakers’ price for a PhD. Gown and Hood from Cambridge confirms that Cec’s degree had been granted. Dr. C.C.Costain certainly looks delighted, holding his daughter. The February accounts show that Cyn’s money from England finally had been transferred, and they were able to get ‘Cec’s Insurance’ $95.35 (Canada did not have medical care then), splurge on Cec’s clothes, make several withdrawals of ‘Cash’ and pay Carol back $200 for loans made in Ann Arbor and during the move.

In March a Get Well card in the scrapbook suggests that Cyn had German measles, fortunately a month before she became pregnant again. Her birthday in April was celebrated and then they MOVED- two sets of rent in the accounts, and the mover’s fee- to Acacia Avenue, still in the same area of Ottawa, but closer to the wealthy houses in Rockcliff, with a conclave of NRC families close by. It was half a duplex, and the photos show the baby, now crawling, with grass with trees and swings available, something I’m sure Cec and Cyn had been looking for.

Now that they were settled in a more satisfactory home, preparations were made for Carol to return to the West Indies after the summer.  First she would visit her sister and nieces in New York State- they had visited her in St.Vincent during the past couple of years, but she had not seen their homes or their families.  Then she would visit other family members in Trinidad before returning home.

Three generations.

Unfortunately as summer approached, the Costains indulged in a colour film, so the photographs in the scrapbook are not as clear.  Linda at 10 1/2 months says goodbye to Grannie standing rather precariously,  and I’m sure Carol was very sad to leave.  But the letters to her resume, so we get a clearer picture of life in a growing family in the 1950s.

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